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Subject: More Realistic Middle East rss

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John Griffey
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It's a wonderful game in most respects.

However, my love of realism was violated by the way the game treats the Middle East. How did the game get the Middle East wrong? Let me count the ways . . .

1. TURKEY should be a Middle East Battleground Country. LIBYA should not be a Battleground country. It was/is too insignificant.

2. SYRIA & IRAQ should not start with USSR Political Influence. Put those USSR Political points in leftist, anti-American MEXICO and in IRAN (which was in 1945 partially USSR-occupied) instead.

3. The Middle East Scoring card should not be in play on Turn 1. If a player draws it on Turn 1, he should immediately draw another card and shuffle the Middle East Scoring card back into the Early War deck. Comment: The Middle East was not much of a scene of early Cold War rivalry, as it was/is not culturally fertile soil for Marxism.

4. ISRAEL should be, like Finland and Austria, a dual Western European/Eastern European non-Battleground country.

5. ISRAEL should be connected to its Arab neighbors only for purposes of play of the "Arab-Israeli War" card. It should also be considered as connected to France and West Germany for purposes of play of the Arab-Israeli War card. It should have no Arab connections for purposes of placing Political Influence or for modifying Realignment die rolls. Comment: although they are enemies, common languages (Urdu/Hindi and English) and a common history connect India and Pakistan, and so the two enemies have some influence on each other. The same is true of North Korea and South Korea. But there was/is a cultural chasm between Israelis and Arabs across which no political influence may pass.

6. ISRAEL is connected to USSR, USA, WEST GERMANY, and FRANCE. Thus, Control of ISRAEL makes it a modifier of Realignment rolls affecting FRANCE and WEST GERMANY, and vice versa. Comment: West Germany was Israel's major non-military supporter, and France, not USA, was Israel's strongest military supporter in the 1950s. In addition to having a large Jewish community, France was worried about Nasser's support for the Algerian revolution, and thought that helping Israel whip Nasser would improve France's position in Algeria.

7. ISRAEL should start with 1 USSR Political Influence point and 1 USA Political Influence point. Comment: The Mapam Party, which was most of the kibbutz movement, was Stalinist oriented and won 15% of the seats in the first Israeli national election in 1949. The strong Marxist flavor of early Zionism was one reason the US Department of State was not happy with Israeli statehood in 1948.

8. The MUSLIM REVOLUTION card (#56, MID WAR), Red 3 OPS: "Remove all US Influence in two of the following countries: Sudan, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan." Comment: this should be a dual-use event, as Communism/Marxism is abhorrent to all true Muslims. It should read, "Remove all enemy Influence . . .")
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Conor Hickey
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1. Turkey wasn't important enough to be a battleground. Apart from the Jupiter missiles (reflected in the game's Cuban Missile Crisis card), what influence did it have on the Cold War. It's inclusion as a cheap European non-battleground is mainly meant to help the US keep up in Europe in Early War.

2. Central America is purposely hard for the USSR to get into, having them start with influence in Mexico is upsetting balance.

3. Don't really see the point of this, TS is a game, not a script.

4-7. Your points on Israel mostly relate to how the country is since the 1970s - a strong Western ally. But from 1948 to 1973 no-one could be sure what way the country would end up going.

Mainly though, why complicate things, realism usually has to be sacraficed for game play and I think this game has gotten far more right than wrong.
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Pete Hooper
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TwoShedsJackson wrote:

Mainly though, why complicate things, realism usually has to be sacrificed for game play and I think this game has gotten far more right than wrong.


Quoted for emphasis.
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Conor Hickey
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nightglider1 wrote:
TwoShedsJackson wrote:

Mainly though, why complicate things, realism usually has to be sacrificed for game play and I think this game has gotten far more right than wrong.


Quoted for emphasis.


And you even corrected my spelling...
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Gastel Etswane
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TwoShedsJackson wrote:
3. Don't really see the point of this, TS is a game, not a script.


I've been thinking of a variant where the players make a speech (short) about the cards they play, making up the new history of the world.

I see this game as not a duplication of reality but a what-if of other realities that might have occurred. This allows for some good storytelling about the new reality created.
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Gastel Etswane
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TwoShedsJackson wrote:
nightglider1 wrote:
TwoShedsJackson wrote:

Mainly though, why complicate things, realism usually has to be sacrificed for game play and I think this game has gotten far more right than wrong.


Quoted for emphasis.


And you even corrected my spelling...


He says emphasis, but I know he was quoting you for the opportunity to correct the spelling. laugh
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John Griffey
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TwoShedsJackson wrote:
1. Turkey wasn't important enough to be a battleground. Apart from the Jupiter missiles (reflected in the game's Cuban Missile Crisis card), what influence did it have on the Cold War. It's inclusion as a cheap European non-battleground is mainly meant to help the US keep up in Europe in Early War.

2. Central America is purposely hard for the USSR to get into, having them start with influence in Mexico is upsetting balance.

3. Don't really see the point of this, TS is a game, not a script.

4-7. Your points on Israel mostly relate to how the country is since the 1970s - a strong Western ally. But from 1948 to 1973 no-one could be sure what way the country would end up going.

Mainly though, why complicate things, realism usually has to be sacrificed for game play and I think this game has gotten far more right than wrong.


I agree the game has gotten far more right than wrong. I'm just pointing to what it got wrong. Way wrong.gulp

1. From a military/naval perspective, Turkey is the most important country in the Near East, and has been since at least the Iliad, so I don't know where you're coming from with that statement.

2. Central America, and Latin America too, were easier for the Commies to get into than the Middle East because when the Cold War began Commies were already there. Many Red refugees from the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) migrated to Commie sympatico Mexico. Ever heard of Diego Rivera and Frieda Kahlo? Both Mexican Reds (though not from Spain), and typical of the intellectual milieu. Making Central America easier for the Commies, and the Middle East harder, is the opposite of scripting. It's the original game which scripts that the Middle East will be easier for the Commies, and Central America easier for the Americans. My variant de-scripts the game and is more realistic too.

3. It's not scripting. The Middle East Scoring Card will still show up in the Early War, just not on Turn 1, when the Middle East was comparatively asleep politically. The creation of Israel was a major factor which made the ME susceptible to Commie penetration. Thus, the Cold War action there begins in earnest on Turn 2. If that's too complex for some people, fine. It's not for me.

4-7. You completely miss the point of what I wrote. yuk Read it again. It's the original game which scripts Israel as a likely American-aligned country by starting it out as a USA-only influenced country, and by providing an "Arab Israeli War" card which gives America a big incentive to control Israel before play of that card. I give USSR a starting Political Influence point there, and an independent incentive to control it--its ability to influence Realignment of France and West Germany. Israel is more likely to be aligned to America only if America controls France and Western Germany, which is far from certain.

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TheBeast TheBeast
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Very interesting variant there, Animalmother. I will try this out. I always wondered what they were doing, making Turkey part of Western Europe and treating it as a non-BG. It had one of the largest armies in NATO and would have been a nightmare for NATO if it were in the Warsaw Pact.

Also, Israel was an interesting part of the Cold War puzzle, which the game as-it-is does not do justice.

I would point out that your change makes Domination and Control of Europe a bit more difficult, by adding a sixth European BG state, Israel.
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Conor Hickey
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AnimalMother wrote:
TwoShedsJackson wrote:
1. Turkey wasn't important enough to be a battleground. Apart from the Jupiter missiles (reflected in the game's Cuban Missile Crisis card), what influence did it have on the Cold War. It's inclusion as a cheap European non-battleground is mainly meant to help the US keep up in Europe in Early War.

2. Central America is purposely hard for the USSR to get into, having them start with influence in Mexico is upsetting balance.

3. Don't really see the point of this, TS is a game, not a script.

4-7. Your points on Israel mostly relate to how the country is since the 1970s - a strong Western ally. But from 1948 to 1973 no-one could be sure what way the country would end up going.

Mainly though, why complicate things, realism usually has to be sacrificed for game play and I think this game has gotten far more right than wrong.


I agree the game has gotten far more right than wrong. I'm just pointing to what it got wrong. Way wrong.gulp

1. From a military/naval perspective, Turkey is the most important country in the Near East, and has been since at least the Iliad, so I don't know where you're coming from with that statement.

2. Central America, and Latin America too, were easier for the Commies to get into than the Middle East because when the Cold War began Commies were already there. Many Red refugees from the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) migrated to Commie sympatico Mexico. Ever heard of Diego Rivera and Frieda Kahlo? Both Mexican Reds (though not from Spain), and typical of the intellectual milieu. Making Central America easier for the Commies, and the Middle East harder, is the opposite of scripting. It's the original game which scripts that the Middle East will be easier for the Commies, and Central America easier for the Americans. My variant de-scripts the game and is more realistic too.

3. It's not scripting. The Middle East Scoring Card will still show up in the Early War, just not on Turn 1, when the Middle East was comparatively asleep politically. The creation of Israel was a major factor which made the ME susceptible to Commie penetration. Thus, the Cold War action there begins in earnest on Turn 2. If that's too complex for some people, fine. It's not for me.

4-7. You completely miss the point of what I wrote. yuk Read it again. It's the original game which scripts Israel as a likely American-aligned country by starting it out as a USA-only influenced country, and by providing an "Arab Israeli War" card which gives America a big incentive to control Israel before play of that card. I give USSR a starting Political Influence point there, and an independent incentive to control it--its ability to influence Realignment of France and West Germany. Israel is more likely to be aligned to America only if America controls France and Western Germany, which is far from certain.



I understand you want to favour realism over game balance, and that's fine, at least you have put thought into your changes and it's your game to do with as you please.

As a matter of interest, how many games of TS have you played? Do you feel it's unbalanced?
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John Griffey
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I've played over a dozen games and USSR has won all of them except twice, when USSR triggered DEFCON 1 by accident.

The geeks say USSR wins 2/3 of the time, so, yeah it favors the USSR moderately.

The variant here and in previous post (Arms Race Track) will have the effect of tilting it back toward America.

 
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Alex H.
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As far as I understand it, with the moderate modifications from the deluxe edition it is now very much balanced.
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Jeff Johnson
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AnimalMother wrote:
It's the original game which scripts Israel as a likely American-aligned country by starting it out as a USA-only influenced country, and by providing an "Arab Israeli War" card which gives America a big incentive to control Israel before play of that card.


You've got that backward. The Arab-Israeli War card is a big disincentive to the US from controlling Israel early, because all that influence could be converted. It actually gives the US the incentive to control surrounding countries before controlling Israel, so the Israeli influence will be less at risk from the war card.
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Conor Hickey
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AnimalMother wrote:
I've played over a dozen games and USSR has won all of them except twice, when USSR triggered DEFCON 1 by accident.

The geeks say USSR wins 2/3 of the time, so, yeah it favors the USSR moderately.

The variant here and in previous post (Arms Race Track) will have the effect of tilting it back toward America.



With the optional cards from the Deluxe edition it's pretty much balanced, stats from the TS League run from here by Ron Jacobsen, and from wargameroom.com confirm this.

I've played it about 300 times and have found it more or less balanced between players of comparable skill.
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Ted Torgerson
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I would like a Middleast US event in Early War deck, such as the Eisenhower Doctrine.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eisenhower_Doctrine

Remove 3 USSR influence in the Middleast, no more than 2 per space.
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John Griffey
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Oakfed wrote:
AnimalMother wrote:
It's the original game which scripts Israel as a likely American-aligned country by starting it out as a USA-only influenced country, and by providing an "Arab Israeli War" card which gives America a big incentive to control Israel before play of that card.


You've got that backward. The Arab-Israeli War card is a big disincentive to the US from controlling Israel early, because all that influence could be converted. It actually gives the US the incentive to control surrounding countries before controlling Israel, so the Israeli influence will be less at risk from the war card.


Very good criticism, Oakfed. laugh I was in error in making the argument about the "Arab Israeli War" card enlisting America to support Israel early, in a hostile Arab neighborhood. I differ with you only in that I think the Arab Israeli War card is a small, not a big disincentive to early American investment in Israel; but it is a disincentive all the same. I actually like the way the game did the Arab Israeli War card and have not changed it. America was reluctant to support Israel in its first 19 years because things looked so iffy for Israel, in the long run if not the short run, that American leaders did not want to stake American prestige on supporting Israel directly and all-out. Anyway, in the short term the intelligence estimates predicted the Arabs could not conquer Israel.

The incentive to support Israel relevant to the game had (has) to do with American domestic politics. American support for Israel would translate into Jewish political support for America's Cold War posture. If the Military Industrial Complex was enlisted not just in defense of the Free World. but specifically in support of Israel, then otherwise liberal American Jews would be much more likely to support it. The "Neo-Cons" and earlier "Scoop Jackson Democrats" are examples. This is a reason for the connections between Israel and USA, France, and West Germany my variant builds into the game. American "control" of Israel means Realignment of West Germany and France away from the Free World is less likely.

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Jack Smith
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I play this as a game not a historical treatise. It still teaches a lot about the history of the cold war and any illogical game elements are largely irrelevant. To make it realistic you would have to change the BG countries as you play I think. All choices made in the game can be justified by reference to one or more events that occurred. But to expect the game to do that, especially as it covers a highly complex and varied topic, is unrealistic I think.

It's still fun to talk about this though. But the game works as it is which is fine by me. If I want to know more I study elsewhere to find out.
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Vidar Ambrosiani
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One point the designers actually make in the designer notes is that the game tries to follow the mindset of the cold war, even those parts (for example domino theory) that were demonstrably false. That's one of the reasons that actual history not always match up with the design.

Also mentioned in the designer notes is the games 2-player nature makes some strange results. Charles de Gaulle for example can hardly be considered pro-Soviet, but since he was more aggressively distancing himself from the US, the 2-sided nature of the game, makes him a Soviet lackey.

With these things in mind, I think the points you make (while I don't know whether they're valid historically or not) don't merit changing this awesome game.
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nicola caroli
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In my TS daydreams i sometimes wonder how it would play if you could have these three states as dual countries , counting for scoring cards and events of both regions:

Libya : Africa / Middle east
Turkey : Europe / Middle East
Iran : Asia / Middle East

with their country box split like those of the sub regions, but having the colors of the 2 different regions they belong to
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Paul Huntley
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AnimalMother wrote:
I've played over a dozen games and USSR has won all of them except twice, when USSR triggered DEFCON 1 by accident.

The geeks say USSR wins 2/3 of the time, so, yeah it favors the USSR moderately.

The variant here and in previous post (Arms Race Track) will have the effect of tilting it back toward America.


Quicker, easier, more seductive, is the USSR.

But beware! Once you start down the Soviet path, forever will it dominate your destiny. Consume you it will.

You must unlearn what you have learned, young Jedi, and the place for that is wargameroom.com!
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John Griffey
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jeibel wrote:
In my TS daydreams i sometimes wonder how it would play if you could have these three states as dual countries , counting for scoring cards and events of both regions:

Libya : Africa / Middle east
Turkey : Europe / Middle East
Iran : Asia / Middle East

with their country box split like those of the sub regions, but having the colors of the 2 different regions they belong to


I think that's a good idea for Turkey, which was important enough to be a Battleground country. Certainly it's more important than Libya, which is a BG. I think Libya is already overrated in importance and I wouldn't want to make it doubly important.

Iran is already a BG too. It gets plenty of coup attention as it is.

Making Turkey count as a non-BG country for both ME and Europe scoring is a nice way to account for its importance without changing the map too much. Thanks for the great idea!
 
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Ioan Mitiu
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1989Game wrote:
I would like a Middleast US event in Early War deck, such as the Eisenhower Doctrine.


Me too ... but more likely to give US some influence/allow to re-enter in the region if the US was expelled from there ...

Something like : Diaspora lobby - US Event, 3 Op, remove from play

US may place 3 Influence in Israel or 1 Influence in two of the following countries if not controlled by USSR : Greece, Turkey, Italy, India or Mexic.

Not just Middle East effect - with an alternative in other areas but as an ideea.
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